Winter is Coming for Windows 7—Get Ready Now!
In this video and blog post, I talk about taking inventory, looking at Windows 7 end of support, and how the end of the year is a great time to upgrade to hardware designed to run Windows 10, such as the Microsoft Surface family of devices.
PCs running Windows 7 after January 14, 2020 should not be considered protected. So, it's important that you migrate to a current supported operating system, such as Windows 10, so you can continue to receive regular security updates to help protect your device from malicious attacks.
Understanding the Upcoming Changes in Windows 7 Security and Support
In a recent statement, Microsoft explained:
“Microsoft made a commitment to provide 10 years of product support for Windows 7 when it was released on October 22, 2009. This 10-year period has now ended, and Microsoft has discontinued Windows 7 support so that we can focus our investment on supporting newer technologies and great new experiences. The specific end of support day for Windows 7 was January 14, 2020. Technical assistance and software updates from Windows Update that help protect your PC are no longer available for the product. Microsoft strongly recommends that you move to Windows 10 to avoid a situation where you need service or support that is no longer available.”
How Upcoming Changes to Windows 7 Could Impact Your Organization
Now that you know what changes are coming to Windows 7, what will they actually mean for your organization?
After January 14, 2020, PCs running Windows 7 will no longer receive security updates. This could leave your confidential business data at risk, so it's incredibly important that you upgrade to a modern operating system such as Windows 10. This way, you will continue to have access to the latest security updates that will help keep you and your important data safe!
Additionally, Microsoft customer service will no longer provide Windows 7 technical support. Related services for Windows 7 will also be discontinued over time. This means Windows 7 users will not be able to reach out to Microsoft for technical assistance. So, if you choose to still use this version, it could put extra stress on your internal IT team and employees.
What else will happen if you continue to use Windows 7 after support has ended? Well, your PC will still work—but it will be much more vulnerable to security risks and viruses because it will no longer receive software updates (including the latest security updates) from Microsoft.
So, What Should You Do?
If you're a current Windows 7 user, moving to a new device with Windows 10 is the ideal path forward. While purchasing new devices can be a large up-front expense for your business, it will pay off in the long run when you have fully functional computers with the latest security patches and access to Microsoft support. The good news? Today's PCs are faster, more mobile, and more secure, and the average price for a PC today is considerably less than it used to be!
So, in order to take full advantage of the latest hardware capabilities, you should move to a new PC with Windows 10. As an alternative, compatible Windows 7 PCs can be upgraded by purchasing and installing a full version of the software. However, this option is not ideal for two reasons:
- The Windows 10 free upgrade offer ended on July 29, 2016, so you'll now have to pay for it.
- When installing Windows 10 on an older device, some Windows 7 devices are not compatible with Windows 10. This means you could experience reduced feature availability.
So, in order to get Windows 10, you will need to either:
- Purchase a new device;
- Or, if you have a compatible PC, purchase a full version of the software to upgrade your existing device.
Next Steps for Your Organization
Since it’s a new year, now is the perfect time to take stock of all the computers you have. Take inventory of your computers and note when each was purchased, if it is still under warranty, what operating system it's running, what version of Office it has, etc. Why is this so important?
Old, outdated computers are likely to run slower than newer ones. Plus, they are more likely to have maintenance issues that could get expensive. So, you want to make sure your computers are still under warranty while you have them so that if something breaks, getting a replacement or making a repair doesn’t break the bank.
You’ll also want everyone in your organization to have the most updated version of Office. Why? Having various employees using various Office versions can lead to inconsistencies, because not everyone’s interface will look the same and do the same things. Plus, if different employees are working with different layers of security patches and features, it can easily leave gaps in your security.
Doing this audit of your current computers will let you know where you currently stand so you can identify where changes need to be made. If you realize you have a ton of old, outdated devices, what do you do next?
Don’t get overwhelmed or blow your budget trying to replace every single device at one time. Instead, we recommend replacing your devices in phases. Replace the oldest devices that are nearing their end of life first. Make sure you are replacing them with new hardware with the latest operating systems and versions of Office.
Then, once your oldest computers that are almost at the end of their useful life are out of the mix, you can start replacing other devices in waves as the resources become available.
Make the Shift to Windows 10 with Confidence!
The upcoming changes to Windows 7 can affect your organization, and you want to be prepared. So, if you need help doing an audit of your current devices or making decisions about how to move forward, we’d be happy to assist you!
At Protected Trust, we have the tools and resources you need to conduct these types of assessments and pick new devices that will help your modern business stay mobile, secure, and competitive!
Reach out to a Protected Trust expert today to learn more or get started with the shift to Windows 10.